Led by Rent the Runway, the influx of new clothing rental companies is hard to ignore. As consumers express their growing concern for the environment and demonstrate their willingness to re-evaluate their shopping habits, more rental services like Le Tote, Nuuly, and Gwynnie Bee seem to appear out of thin air. Now, peer-to-peer models are grabbing the attention of shoppers as companies like Tulerie and Wardrobe give them the opportunity to curate their closets without adding to the clutter.
Known for their upcycled messenger bags, FREITAG is taking this model a step further. Introduced in mid-October, FREITAG S.W.A.P., or Shopping Without Any Payment, is a Tinder-style bag exchange that lets shoppers swap their bags with other shoppers for free. Branded as an “anti-shop,” this make-it-last mentality is built into the company’s ethos.
Since its inception in 1993, FREITAG has been committed to the circular, closed-loop economy. Their bags are made from recycled truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes, and car seat belts. In 2014, the company developed F-ABRIC, compostable textiles based on bast fibers that are produced using resources within a 2500-kilometer radius of headquarters. FREITAG products are built to last and S.W.A.P. ensures that they are used for as long as possible.
FREITAG owners upload a photo of their old bag to the mobile platform and then start swiping like Tinder. When two bags match, the owners can connect to coordinate a swap. Because each bag is unique, a characteristic of their upcycled nature, swiping gives consumers a renewed sense of discovery. By adding an element of fun to the secondhand buying process, the company hopes to inspire consumers to reconsider buying new products in general.
Similar to Patagonia’s campaign a few seasons ago that asked customers to buy less, FREITAG wants consumers to ask themselves if they really need something new, regardless of the effect that mindset may have on their bottom line. Elisabeth Isenegger, PR lead at FREITAG, describes this desired change in consumer behavior. “Maybe this feeling of wanting something new doesn’t necessarily have to be something that uses new resources, but it can be something secondhand as well.” The industry’s shift toward secondhand and rental platforms seems to support this change as more and more brands focus their efforts on sustainable innovation.